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Chances are that if you’re reading this on a computer, you’ve got a keyboard and mouse connected to your machine. While you can navigate Windows with just your keyboard or mouse Learn To Navigate Windows Without A Mouse, Keyboard Or Screen Learn To Navigate Windows Without A Mouse, Keyboard Or Screen You just spent hours labouring over an important document when your keyboard dies on you. Would you know how to save your work, exit programs, and shut down your computer? We'll show you. Read More , it’s pretty hard to use a computer without either input method!

It’s standard to use one mouse and keyboard, but there are plenty of situations where a second keyboard or mouse would come in handy. Maybe you want to control a media PC from across the room with a wireless mouse, or want one hand on an extra keyboard for instant access to shortcuts Navigating Windows with Keyboard Shortcuts Alone Navigating Windows with Keyboard Shortcuts Alone You might know lots of keyboard shortcuts, but did you know you could get around Windows without your mouse? Here's how. Read More . Whatever your reason, here are a few ways you can use multiple keyboards and mice on one computer.

The Basic Way: Just Connect Them Both!

You might never have tried this, but Windows can detect and use multiple keyboard or mice with no problem. Just plug in an additional mouse or keyboard via a USB port, and give Windows a moment to add its drivers. Then, you can type using either keyboard, or control the cursor with both mice.

If you mirror your main PC to a TV Stop Using HDMI: Miracast Is the Wireless Alternative You'll Love Stop Using HDMI: Miracast Is the Wireless Alternative You'll Love The next time you need to stream media between devices, remember the flaws of HDMI and consider using wireless Miracast instead. It's the technology we all need and deserve. Read More and want to control it with a wireless mouse at your TV, this is a great solution. Both devices perform the same function on your computer, so you can switch between keyboards after every word you type if you like.

Logitech’s Unifying Receiver

Modern Logitech mice and keyboards all come with a Unifying Receiver. This little dongle plugs into a USB port and can connect up to six Logitech devices to your system. Thus, if you want to use multiple keyboards or mice and they’re all Logitech, you can save a few USB ports.

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To take advantage of this, make sure you have the Logitech Unifying Software on your system. For those who don’t have it yet, install a copy and follow the steps to add each of your devices. If you already have a device paired, search for Unifying from the Start Menu to open the app. Click Advanced, then Pair a New Device. Follow the steps to switch the device on or off, and it will pair with your existing receiver.

Get Dual Control with TeamPlayer

The built-in Windows solution lets you use two devices to perform the same function, but what if you want two separate cursors on the screen? For that, TeamPlayer gets the job done. Download the free trial of TeamPlayer to get started — there’s nothing unusual about the installation. After it’s done, click the Trial tab and hit the Start Trial button to activate the software for a limited time.

You’ll see a small window which controls the app. The right button, which looks like a Full Screen icon, adds a red box to your screen. Any additional cursors can’t move outside the bounds of this box if you enable it — perfect for restricting other users to one app. Click this button again to let the other users have full reign of the screen.

Using TeamPlayer

Click Start Session, and TeamPlayer will start splitting device inputs. The first mouse to move becomes User 1 and additional mice are added as User 2 and so on, up to six. If you have multiple keyboards connected, the same rule applies for them. Each user can click on a different own window and work in an app without affecting the others. So with two keyboards and two mice, User 1 can type a document in Word while User 2 browses the web.

The gear Settings icon lets you change a few options in the program. Under Mouse & Cursor you can remove the colors and labels (though these help distinguish between them) and change the cursor size and speed. Check the Shortcuts tab to add a keyboard shortcut 12+ Custom Windows Keyboard Shortcuts for the Geek in You 12+ Custom Windows Keyboard Shortcuts for the Geek in You Windows includes hundreds of keyboard shortcuts, but you can create your own shortcuts to nearly anything you'd like. Here's how to customize your Windows shortcuts. Read More to start or stop multi-user mode. You can also click the Cursor Labels button next to the question mark icon to rename the generic User 1 labels.

That’s all you need to work with TeamPlayer. Unfortunately, this is an expensive solution as it’s aimed at business users. TeamPlayer allows a 14-day trial, but then costs a whopping $299/year for just two users. It’s a solid piece of software and performs its function well. But unless you absolutely need two unique controls on one machine, we don’t recommend spending that kind of money on this tool.

Try TeamViewer from Another PC

Another way to use two cursors is creating your own solution with TeamViewer. We’ve already sung the praises of this app TeamViewer 12: The Best Remote Desktop Tool TeamViewer 12: The Best Remote Desktop Tool TeamViewer is the gold standard in remote desktop tools. It's cross-platform and free for personal use. The latest version includes new features for remote assistance. Here's how to get started with TeamViewer 12. Read More for making powerful remote connections easy, but you can use it to add a second mouse to your computer in a pinch, too.

Download and install TeamViewer on both your computer and another machine that will serve as the extra mouse. Once set up, connect the second machine to the host using the ID number and passcode from the main computer. After this, you’ll have two cursors — one from your computer, and one that the remote computer can use to control yours. Head to Options > Remote control and check the box to Show your partner’s cursor on both machines, else you can’t see where the other one is!

While this won’t let you perform independent functions like TeamPlayer, it works for letting two people control cursors on the same screen. It’s useful for reviewing documents so both parties can select objects to show the other. But since the remote machine moves the host’s mouse with their cursor, it’s not a true dual-cursor setup.

Depending on your connection speed, the remote mouse might suffer from some lag. But if you don’t need exact precision from the second mouse, you can try this method to attach an extra mouse to your laptop and use it as a secondary pointer on your desktop.

Don’t Forget About Collaboration Software

Depending on what you want two cursors for, you might not even need the above solutions to connect a second mouse. For collaborating on a document with someone else, you can invite them to a Google Doc How to Easily Collaborate on Google Drive with Online Annotation How to Easily Collaborate on Google Drive with Online Annotation There are specialized annotation web apps available that integrate with Google Drive and make communicating with others about your document easier. We look at the best annotation tools for Google Drive. Read More or use OneNote to brainstorm together The Only OneNote Guide You'll Ever Need The Only OneNote Guide You'll Ever Need OneNote is a powerful note-taking app. It's cross-platform and well integrated into Microsoft Office. Read this guide to become a OneNote pro! Read More .

Everyone uses their own PC, but works on the same document together. These let you benefit from several users working on the same screen at once without any complicated setup or extra software.

What Do You Use Two Peripherals For?

Most people probably won’t need to use two mice and keyboards at the same time. Windows’ default way of allowing two devices to control the same input works great for home media setups. But these options give you a few methods to add extra peripherals to your PC. If you need another solution, try adding an on-screen keyboard or mouse tool.

If you’ve got an Android device, there’s another option. You can turn your phone or tablet into a mouse and keyboard How to Turn Your Android Phone or Tablet Into a Mouse and Keyboard for Windows How to Turn Your Android Phone or Tablet Into a Mouse and Keyboard for Windows Imagine you could control your Windows PC with your Android? Intel Remote Keyboard turns your phone into a mouse and keyboard for your Intel PC. We show you how it works. Read More , providing you with another set of both input devices.

Have you ever needed more than one mouse or keyboard with your computer? Tell us what you’ve used them for in the comments, and feel free to add additional solutions!

Image Credit: Dean Drobot via Shutterstock.com

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  1. James Loudenback
    February 22, 2017 at 2:35 am

    I would like some more information on the software if it is possible (wiljim3@aol.com). I have two screens which I can toggle from "extended displays", "Duplicate These Displays", "Show Desktop Only on 1", or "Show Desktop Only on 2". How would this software affect this kind of display option? What are the system requirements for the software on a Windows 7 platform? It would be great if the company had a technical chat feature so that technical discussion could be discussed in real time. Is the cost of the software a one time investment or monthly club dues? What type of mouse and keyboard restrictions are there? Is there one key member that controls the other team input?

  2. Hayden
    September 24, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Software development teams call this 'Pairing'.

    Another solution, use a Macintosh and it will just work, any Mac, every app, just work.

  3. Dicolab support team
    April 27, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    For all of you still reading this ...
    We have released an all new version of the TeamPlayer software!
    At present we are at version 4! already.
    Much improved and more functionality over what is described here,

    Even a FREE lite version available at our website dicolab dot com.
    Check it out and give it a test drive yourself

  4. Brandon
    April 14, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    What about video gaming?... would this work for that?... exxample: two player gaming like Fifa? can two keyboards work in that way too?

  5. Nathan Smutz
    February 24, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    For simultaneous editing of documents, spreadsheets, slide-presentations and simple-drawings, Google Drive is pretty amazing. Photoshop wouldn't be an option, though.

    You wont see a second mouse pointer, but you'll see cursors writing and things appearing in real time.

    Drive was my favorite collaborative tool in school and I'm always trying to encourage people to use it.

  6. b
    June 6, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    i think there is something called ncomputing that is similar that would work for multiple things being done from one computer.

    ncomputing.com/

    • Doc
      May 3, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      Not at all similar. This is one person having the choice of two or more keyboards and mice, any of which can input into whatever program has focus. Ncomputing is having two or more (or dozens) of people, each running their own apps. For example, I have a Logitech keyboard and trackball plugged into my laptop (because I hate "chiclet" keyboards and trackpads). Having two people typing on the keyboards at one time will just give a confused mashup of the input; I can't tell Windows to send one keyboard's input to Notepad++ while the other controls my web browser.

  7. Kyle
    February 11, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I am looking for a similar solution. I want to be able to use 2 keyboards, but re-assign the values of one of them. Basically I want to be more efficient, use keyboard A normally, while I set up keyboard B to have specific functions. Like pressing a particular key launches a program, or does a specific task. Anyone know of a program like this?

    • Matthew
      January 3, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      Get a single keyboard that has multiple profiles ie Roccat were you can flick through different profiles and each profile can be set up to do different tasks

  8. Matt
    December 4, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Is there a way to have one computer in the house, and multiple monitors/keyboard/mouse in different locations around the house??? That...with this...would work well!

    • Doc
      May 3, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      Sure. Get a KVM switch and some long cables.

  9. Lee H
    December 4, 2008 at 10:04 am

    No need for special software. I have two keyboards and 2 mice (2 mouses) connected to my computer. One "standard" pair via the ps2 (round) connections that the family generally uses, and one pair (MS Natural and a trackball mouse) via USB to ease my carpel tunnels. (Vista Home Premium). You only get one mouse track, but as long as you can designate who is operating at the time, there should be no problem. If two people operate the devices the computer sees the garbage in and you see the garbage out, and they may need more than this tool to cooperate. One advantage with the tool is separate mouse tracks, but it may be too easy to steal the keyboard with a left mouse click. I only use the mouse when a keyboard shortcut is not available.

  10. venkat
    December 4, 2008 at 7:05 am

    This will be very useful in less developed countries ,in schools where they can't afford to have multiple computers operate one computer with multiple keyboards and mouses having said that the CPU has enough USB ports to connect to CPU.

    • Doc
      May 3, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      You don't connect the keyboard or mouse "to the CPU," since the CPU is a chip inside the computer's case. This also doesn't allow multiuser, since only one keyboard or mouse should communicate at one time; you can't have one keyboard type into a web browser while another is typing into Notepad, for example; you still need two or more computers to do things simultaneously. This just lets you use your preferred keyboard or mouse to do things. I use a tiny USB-RF keyboard with touchpad to control video playback on my HTPC; that doesn't mean someone else can web browse with my full-sized keyboard and trackball, since I'm using the screen, and it's impossible to assign each device a different app - video player or web browser, not one per device.

  11. Aibek
    December 3, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Karl, nice tool

    I always wanted to keep one wireless keyboard / mouse set near my bed to control the TV.

    • John
      December 3, 2008 at 3:45 pm

      That is a great use for this! SWEET! Thanks Karl.

  12. RobertoTNK
    December 3, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    For this functionality, try etherpad.com/, it's so easy and simple to use.

    • Doc
      May 3, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      That's something completely different. This is attaching a second keyboard or mouse to control a PC (I have a wireless keyboard connected to my HTPC, so I can play or pause videos from my couch); Etherpad is for collaborative editing. Sort of like comparing Google Drive to a joystick.